Refractometers’ Role in Concentrate – Helping Producers’ Profitability

Refractometers are used to continuously monitor the concentrations of liquids used in the food and beverage, chemical, energy, and metalworking industries, among others. Download this research study to learn how to your reduce costs by tightly controlling product yield.

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Current state of orange juice industry The orange juice industry is at a crossroads, as sales have dropped almost every year for the last decade. In 2014, according to Nielsen data, orange juice sales hit their lowest level in at least 20 years. Over the same period, per-capita consumption fell roughly 40%. And the immediate future looks challenging for producers. The swift decline of orange juice sales is indeed having a significant impact on the producers of orange juice made from concentrate. For most of the late 20th Century, orange juice was a breakfast staple, as approxi- mately three quarters of all U.S. households consistently drank it. But a combination of shifting breakfast habits of Americans, who each year continue to eschew sugar, and the steady, upward climb of juice prices in general, in large part caused by climate – and in the case of Florida, an insect-born disease – has had a powerful, adverse effect on demand. Thus, with fewer productive trees, the price of growing oranges is on the rise. According to Florida Citrus estimates, the cost of growing orange trees has doubled from roughly $1,500 an acre in 2000 to as much as $3,000 today, and the cost is increasing year by year. As U.S. supplies continue to decrease – according to some estimates, yearly production could actually fall below 100 million boxes over the next five years – prices will most likely continue their upward climb. And the wholesale price of orange juice has doubled over the past decade and a half, which in turn, is passed on to the consumer. While imports of oranges to the U.S. are up slightly, they have yet to make an impact on the decline in U.S. production. For instance, Brazil, which accounts for nearly all of the world’s consumption of oranges outside of the U.S., has been beset by its own market and production challenges. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Consumer Price of Orange Juice – 2005-2015 Helping Producers’ Profitability Refractometers’ role in concentrate So, given that the environment of increasing commodity prices is putting a drag on the industry’s collective bottom line, fruit juice producers, trying to find ways to increase profitability, are searching for the latest technologies for effective processes for °Brix analysis. For well over two decades, manufacturers, for their primary instrument in measuring the final dilution ratio – or °Brix – for reconstituted juice, have utilized flow meters, density meters and refractometers. These have served to both ensure optimum quality, as well as reduce losses through the stringent control of the yields from orange juice made from concentrate. The most successful to date has been the refractometer. As a discipline, refractometry is an inexpensive technique designed to deliver rapid and consistent measurements of the fully dissolved solid content of any liquid sample. Over the past several years, in an effort to accurately measure °Brix, and to lessen losses by ensuring that they have full control over yields of concentrate, the vast majority of beverage manufacturers have been employing digital refractometers. In addition to quality control, consistent confirmation and corroboration of laboratory instrumentation is paramount in today’s manufacturing facilities as an assurance of overall efficiency – which, at the end of the day, directly impacts the balance sheet. However, since the digital automatic refractometer came on the market about 35 years ago, there have been issues associated with discrepancies between measurements obtained using these instruments and traditional refrac- tometers when dealing with non-homogenous, pulp-filled orange juice. Primarily because of the inconsistencies some samples may contain, refractive index (RI) readings measured on orange juice samples by modern electronic refractometers are at times misleading. Challenges in achieving high accuracy °Brix measurements The accuracy of measurement techniques afforded by today’s digital refractometers have exposed a potentially costly, unstable attribute within an orange juice sample 11.20 11.25 11.30 11.35 11.40 11.45 11.50 11.55 11.60 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 °B rix Application Typical Refractometer Orange Juice °Brix Readings Repeatability on Conventional Digital Refractometer that has a direct impact on dilution control. As orange juice is a function food – in this case health-promoting and disease preventing – firm quality control is essential. Thus, the questionable sample may be hampering the ability to reduce costs by decreasing target values without the risk of not meeting even minimum regulatory requirements. The difference between instrument, sample and ambient temperatures cause an unpredictable stabilization period between the analyses of samples, thus compounding the effects of the settling of solid particles onto the surface of the prism as being the root cause. Because orange juice made from concentrate measurement repeatability can be erratic, packers must operate at a higher dilution ratio. Thus, if the packer is unaware that the lower limit is being breached, and the product is then delivered to the retailer which then determines the product is not to its specifications, the packer may indeed lose a valuable contract. Resolution: °Brix 0.01 Accuracy: °Brix ±0.01 (0 – 20 °Brix) ±0.03 (20 – 100 °Brix) Reproducibility: °Brix ±0.01 for sucrose solutions ±0.02 for orange juice Modes Conventional & Pro-Juice Reading Time 4-180 seconds (Method/ stability dependent) Methods Multiple methods with citric acid correction and offset Presser Type Polyacetal XyCone flow through cell with leur taper inlet for attachment of stainless steel funnel for rapid changeover between samples or none (lifted) for conventional operation Measuring Temperature Range 0°C or 10°C below ambient whichever is the greater to 70°C Temperature Sensor Accuracy ± 0.03°C Sample Temperature Stability ± 0.05°C Temperature Stability Checks None/delay time/repeatability/ Smart/Pro-Juice Prism Artificial Sapphire 12mm sample area diameter Prism Dish 316 Stainless Steel / PEEK Prism Seal Silicon/Resin Interfaces 1 Parallel (printer), 2 x Serial (RS232) Sample Illumination Light Emitting Diode (life 100,000hr +) 589nm Temperature Control Peltier (sensor and sample conditioner) Power Supply External 100-240V, 50-60Hz, 6A. Supplied with instrument Physical Specifications Specifications In order to achieve high accuracy results for orange juice samples like other fruit juices – and to mitigate the problems with many refractometers currently being marketed, Bellingham + Stanley, a unit of Xylem’s analytics businesses, has developed an instrument that is based on its proven RFM340+ refractometer – one that provides a measurement with 0.01 °Brix accuracy for sucrose solutions and 0.02 °Brix reproducibility between orange juice samples, irrespective of the temperature differential or the skill level of the operator. Bellingham + Stanley’s Pro-Juice Solution The device – the Pro-Juice refractometer – takes care of all of the typical issues of refractometric analysis of orange juice measurement through the combination of dynamic measurement and intelligent thermal conditioning. Among its many other benefits that are designed to provide superior analysis and improved productivity include: • Using a peristaltic pump to prevent the settling of the solid particles onto the prism surface by keeping the sample in constant motion and delivering it for measurement at precisely the right temperature, thus eliminating stabilization time and ensuring that no detrimental settling occurs on the prism surface. • Its on-screen menu helps the operator in every stage of measurement and the built-in software ensures cleanliness, which is essential to achieve a high accuracy result and helps to eliminate staff training, especially where there is a relatively high through-put of non-skilled operators. • Pro-Juice has been designed to deliver °Brix analysis within 2.5 minutes that includes sample preparation and cleaning cycle, thus reducing downtime irrespective of the temperature differ- ence between the instrument and sample. • The cleverly shaped XyCone flow cell enables sample readings in constant motion and its vortex technology ensures samples are properly flushed between applications. Further, its easy release arm facilitates calibration, measurement and end-of-day cleaning. • To enable routine maintenance, an externally mounted peristaltic pump facilitates rapid tube exchange; air filters protecting the solid state heat exchangers can be changed in seconds. The outstanding repeatability provided by the Pro-Juice refractometer can be illustrated through taking multiple readings of an orange juice sample in the Pro-Juice, on a refractometer under factory conditions, and on a high specification digital refractometer under ideal conditions. The Pro-Juice refractometer resolves all issues related to the orange juice measurement on a standard refractometer. Using the Pro-Juice refractometer, orange juice manufacturers can produce orange juice from concentrate with acceptance tolerances as low as possible, thus making significant savings and a quick return on initial investments. Further, the Pro-Juice is not exclusively designed for orange juice analysis. Its software, using the METHODS system, which together with the quick release soft flow cell, facilitates conventional “single shot measurement” of any sample up to 95 °Brix in a matter of seconds, so that other diluted juices and concentrates can be measured. 11.20 11.25 11.30 11.35 11.40 11.45 11.50 11.55 11.60 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 °B rix Application Typical Refractometer Pro-Juice Orange Juice °Brix Readings Comparison of Repeatability Conventional vs. Pro-Juice Refractometer 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 -0.15 -0.10 -0.05 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 Pr ob ab ili ty D is tr ib ut io n °Brix Offset from Average Reading Standard Refractometer Pro-Juice in B+S Lab Pro-Juice by Customer Orange juice reading distribution comparison – Conventional vs. Pro-Juice Refractometer, showing excellent repeatability between client and instrument manufacturer using the Pro-Juice refractometer In a competitive market where constantly increasing commodity prices are putting a pressure on profitability, fruit juice producers need to look to the latest technology to ensure that the most effective processes for °Brix analysis are in place. The Pro-Juice will not only prove a viable method to help reduce costs by tightly controlling product yield for all fruit juice types, including orange juice with or without added pulp, it will do so without putting lucrative contracts at risk. In summary The orange juice industry is arguably in its most challenging era ever. Higher commodity prices, caused by lower yields and decreasing consumption among consumers, have the industry feverishly seeking for ways to increase profitability. One tested method that can enable manufacturers to improve production – to refine blend ratios to an extent that losses are significantly reduced – is a refractometer that has time and again delivered positive results: the Bellingham + Stanley Pro-Juice. About Bellingham + Stanley For 100 years, Bellingham + Stanley has been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of Refractometers and Polarimeters. Instrumentation is supplied to over 80 countries around the World and many global companies consider our products as the ultimate in quality and performance. The company’s expertise in optical engineering, electronics and software design has enabled Bellingham + Stanley to create instruments that are used extensively throughout the world’s food, drinks, pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum industries. For more information about the Pro-Juice refractometer and other Bellingham + Stanley products, please visit www.bellinghamandstanley.com. About Xylem Analytics Xylem’s analytics businesses are leading manufacturers of premium field, portable, laboratory and online analytical instruments used in water and wastewater, environmental, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and life science applications. The company’s meters, sensors, analyzers and related consumables are used every day by thousands of end-users worldwide to analyze and control quality in countless applications where precise measurement is required. Xylem Analytics started with the core brands of WTW, SI Analytics, Aanderaa Data Instruments, Global Water Instrumentation, ebro and Bellingham + Stanley, and has grown through a series of successful acquisitions including OI Analytical, YSI and MJK Automation. www.xylemanalytics.com About Xylem Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology provider, enabling customers to transport, treat, test and efficiently use water in public utility, residential and commercial building services, industrial and agricultural settings. The company does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands, and its people bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on finding local solutions to the world’s most challenging water and wastewater problems. Xylem is headquartered in Rye Brook, N.Y., with 2014 revenues of $3.9 billion and more than 12,500 employees worldwide. Xylem was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the last three years for advancing sustainable business practices and solutions worldwide. The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all — that which occurs in nature. For more information, please visit us at www.xyleminc.com.
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